Remember when I was worrying about fingerprints and thumbprints on clay? Well, it turns out Kemper makes a tool that presses them away! It's called the Sculpting Thumb and is available for about $5. Designed to simulate thumb marks without the pesky fingerprints, it's great for making smooth surfaces. If you turn it on its side, you can flatten even larger expanses.
This is what it looks like.
After missing the last bus to the store that carries it I tried to make my own version, but it's not as wide so it's more like a Sculpting Finger:
However, today I went out and bought one. The Sculpting Thumb does not do exactly what my tool does, because while it is double-ended, it has the same thing on both ends. Useful for smoothing dark colors, then flipping the tool around in your hand and smoothing light colors, but not so useful for making the kind of textures mine makes. Attempts have been made to sell sculpting tools before at the online store, but there was not much interest. I've decided to offer mine for lower than retail and hope for the best. It really is a nice tool, and it was made by an animator. Quality-wise, they are about the same. They also weigh the same amount. The price will be $3.00.
Not only can my Finger tool do textures, but it is also handy for carving out mouth cavities in clay puppets:
You can also use the Kemper tool to do this, but the results might be too wide for the dimensions of the puppet's face. I used a technique like this in my final project for Will Vinton's Claymation class last December. It works really well, but is not as realistic/naturalistic as the classic lip sync technique, which is covered in Clay Animation: Secrets Revealed 3.
Tool-wise, both the Sculpting Finger and the Sculpting Thumb are the best thing that ever happened to my sculpting, and they're really opening the doors to what I can do in terms of speed and quality. I think you really need both of them, so if you want to buy the 'Thumb and check out the Finger, I'd really appreciate it. Times are tough- I'm basically selling my knowledge and craftiness these days. Every little bit helps.
In other news, as of a few minutes ago: the book is OUT!!! Shortly after the link went live, someone bought it. Here's to the first sale! *clink*
We're making history, here... No one has ever written a book on this subject. It's kind of weird to be the first for something, but there it is... Woohoo!